What do you consume, and what do you receive? That was the central theme of October’s New York trip, as we continued fine-tuning the stories in the new musical.

One of the things that PFO is all about is creating artistic experiences that ask the audience to receive vs. simply consume. Imagine it’s lunchtime, and you’re in a hurry. You grab something – maybe it’s healthy, maybe it’s not – but you rush to eat it. You’re not really thinking about how it tastes or savoring the experience; you’re just consuming. We do it with Netflix, social media, music in the car, etc. But when we receive, we stop and savor.

We sit down and really take the time to enjoy the food; we talk about how it tastes, what we detect in the ingredients, how it makes us feel. The experience asks us to engage. It asks us questions that we answer; it asks us to receive the meal, rather than simply consume it.

The same is true with art. We can choose to consume what we’re experiencing, and sometimes that’s a-okay! We simply want to enjoy the moment for what it is. Nothing further, nothing deeper, just experience. And sometimes the art asks us to receive. It asks us to question, to noodle on, to receive something more from it. That’s what we strive to create in PFO. Work that asks us to reflect in a deeper way. Work that asks the audience to play an active role rather than a passive role. To respond, instead of simply accept.

We want the audience to leave the original musical and continue the conversation. To be so inspired by the intentional and thoughtful choices in what’s presented and how that the experience stays with the audience long after they’ve left the theatre. We talked a lot on this trip about teenagers.

Last year, we were so careful to not craft stories and songs that were teen-centric. We wanted audience members to relate to the different stories and not simply write it off as a “teen thing”. It’s not a teen thing. The struggles and questions within Ready. Set. Go. are applicable to anyone of any age. Are there teenagers performing on stage? Yes. Does that mean the story is only impactful for teenage audience members? No.

This year, the stories are more teen-centered, simply by nature of the mode of storytelling. But just like last year, the themes are also for adults. Forgiveness, and the multitude of questions that accompany it, are prevalent in all of our lives. Can we expect an audience of adults to be able to watch stories being played out by teens and make the transfer to their own lives? We can if we’re asking them to receive.

We believe great art challenges us, inspires us, and sparks dialogue. And the goal here is to make great art 🙂

Creative goodness that is currently inspiring us:
Books –
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Curious by Ian Leslie

Musicals –
The Band’s Visit by David Yazbek & Itamar Moses
Sweeney Todd by Frederick Hazleton, Hugh Wheeler, and Patrick Quentin

Other-
Training for a ½ marathon (James, not Jen 😉